Do I Need Planning Permission to Build a Conservatory?

This may come as a surprise, but the decision of if you build a conservatory or not isn’t entirely yours to make. You may need to get planning permission to build it, and the costs of not doing so can be severe.

Building without proper permission is an offence. You might have to make expensive adjustments out of pocket to meet regulations. Local authorities are even able to legally tear down any unlawful builds. We recommend that you ensure you have all the necessary permissions before building. A good conservatory company can help with this.

Planning Permission

Planning permission is a requirement in UK law to build on property or change how it is used. Conservatories may be an exception to the rule in some cases as they are considered “permitted development rights”. A single-storey extension can be built without having to get permission beforehand as long as it meets these five conditions;

  1. The conservatory doesn’t cover over half of the garden
  2. The house already has an extension
  3. The roof ridge/top point of the conservatory is no higher than the eaves of the roof of the property
  4. The maximum height for a conservatory is 4 meters (3 metres if within 2 metres of property border)
  5. Side extensions must not extend over half of the width of the house

The government doubled the size for permitted conservatory developments in 2013. Until May 2019, you are able to extend outwards by as much as 8 metres for a detached property, or 6 metres for any other type of house. Rather than applying for planning permission, you have to go through a “Neighbour Consultation Scheme” that ensures the planned conservatory won’t impeach on your neighbours.

Those in flats, maisonettes, and terraced houses still require planning permission. Whether you need planning permission for your conservatory or not depends on the project specifications, and each case is handled individually. Good companies will assess the design and location to determine if you need planning permission or the like. They can also put together plans and submit them on your behalf. Some companies will do this as a free service, but others may charge for it.

Building Regulations

Sticking to building regulations is different from getting planning permission. Building regulations are the standards for health and safety for buildings and occupants. Many conservatories in England and Wales are exempt from building regulations, but there are some occasions when it will be required to get an application. Conservatories are exempt from building regulations when they are:

  • Built at ground level
  • Separated by an external wall or external doors and windows
  • Less than 30 square metres
  • Have their own independent heating system
  • Are no less than a metre away from the property boundary

You will need building regulations approval before removing the walls or door that link the conservatory to the main property. You must prove that the conservatory is as energy efficient as the house to be approved. The company you work with will have to prepare full drawings, including heat-loss calculations as necessary. They submit these for approval and notifying the local authority at key construction stages.


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Scottish Building Warrants

A Scottish building warrant is similar to building regulations in England and Wales as they refer to the health and safety of the building. A conservatory in Scotland may be exempt from needing building warrant approval if it meets certain criteria;

  • Is smaller than 8 square metres
  • Is located to the rear of a property
  • Is located to the side of a property and not facing a road
  • Is no less than a metre away from property boundaries
  • Doesn’t have a chimney or flue, or any bathroom plumbing such as toilets or a shower

You will require building warrant approval if your design doesn’t match those requirements. Unfortunately, the regulations in Scotland are more complex and it can be difficult to determine if you will get approval or not. We recommend that you work with someone who can handle the applications for you.

Water Board Authority Approval

You will need permission from the water board authority if you are planning on building within 3 metres of a pubic sewer. The local building control officer will need to check the conservatory after installation to ensure that the sewer system wasn’t damaged during construction.

Listed Buildings, Restrictive Covenants, and Conservation Areas

If you are living in a listed building or in a conservation area, then you need to ensure that the new conservatory is in keeping with the property. Houses built in national parks, conservation areas, and designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are subject to “Article 4 Directions”, which restrict how much work can be done to the property without obtaining planning permission beforehand.

This also applies if your property has a restrictive covenant. A restrictive covenant is a private agreement that is outlined in the title deed of the property. They can restrict how land can be developed and used. Any conservatory or extension on such a property is subject to permitted development guidelines.

Most of the time, depending on the type of the conservatory it can be added if the design is sympathetic to the overall aesthetics of the property. That means that frames and glazing should match the rest of the property, and the use of cladding like pebble dash is restricted. It’s recommended that you partner with a company that has experience obtaining approval for conservation areas.


Complete Glazing Birmingham
Unit 130, 180 Sherlock Street
Birmingham, B5 7EH
0121 405 1058
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About Us

Complete Glazing Birmingham is a sister company of Mainstream Windows a local double glazing, orangery and conservatory installation company based in Birmingham servicing Solihull, Knowle, Sutton Coldfield, Bromsgrove, Leamington Spa, Warwick and Evesham.



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